OK/effective to use bitter apple around dog's sutures?
October 19, 2010 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday my now very unhappy and vocal pup was bitten by another dog, the result was a ripped flap of skin that required about 7 stitches to close a 5" wound (front of her rear leg, above the knee. Unhappy husky wants to lick the wound.

She doesn't seem to be biting at the sutures, but she can't leave it alone. The e-collar doesn't work, she can still get at the wound no matter how I have the collar adjusted.

I've seen bitter apple suggested for use around not on the wound. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this strategy? It would be really nice to sleep tonight instead of laying on the floor next to the Husky to prevent damage to the wound.
posted by HuronBob to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
Aw, the poor thing - she sounds so pathetic. I would call your vet and ask if they can provide anything. Just yesterday mine mentioned an ointment he could prescribe to keep my dog from licking an injured foot if it became a problem. You could also try to find a larger e-collar. The ones I get from the vet are long and work really well, but when I've purchased them from the store they are always too short and the dogs can get around them.
posted by thejanna at 8:24 AM on October 19, 2010

Best answer: Oooh, I am tearing up at this video. Poor, poor puppy. I hope you are taking action against that other dog! Though, I don't really know the situation, so I guess that's another story.

I'd suggest trying an inflatable collar instead. I think it'll keep her from being able to get her nose over there. Hopefully that'll help! Such a sad doggie. Huskies are so beautiful.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:26 AM on October 19, 2010

You need a deeper ecollar - aka 'the cone of shame'.
posted by matty at 8:31 AM on October 19, 2010 [3 favorites]

Would she tolerate pants? When one of my guys chewed holes into his rear end, the only way I was able to keep him from getting at them was to bandage them and then I made pants for him from a pair of tights that were doctored to allow room for his tail area. I also cut a hole in the bottom to allow him to go to the bathroom without having to remove the pants and upset his bandages.
posted by crankylex at 8:34 AM on October 19, 2010

A friend of mine had a Golden Retriever with a wound in her side near the hip that she would. not. stop. licking. All size cones were useless; she defeated every one. Three sets of stitches later, what he finally did was to wrap a wide piece of cloth around her whole body, covering the wound, and then rounds of duct tape on top of that to hold it in place. Looked ridiculous, but it worked. Since your pup's wound is on the leg itself, it would be simpler if you have to resort to this method.
posted by JanetLand at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2010

Poor puppy. A larger Cone of Solitude, I think, is going to be better than applying anything on the skin, and the vets' standard supply probably comes in sizes that aren't really suited to huskies.
posted by holgate at 8:37 AM on October 19, 2010

A doggy diaper might cover that spot, if you want something convenient to just grab and go. You could just remove it when taking her to potty.

Huskies have the most amazing soulful wails, don't they?
posted by galadriel at 8:41 AM on October 19, 2010

Rather than pants, my parents used a man's undershirt on our samoyeds. Tail goes through the head, legs through the arms, torso through the uh, torso.
posted by maryr at 8:46 AM on October 19, 2010

Bigger cone, unfortunately. Should extend just past the muzzle. The inflatable ones are good, but you have to experiment with them -- my dog quickly learned to defeat hers.

Also, if she's not already on Rimadyl as pain-killer, I suggest that. Your vet will have it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:22 AM on October 19, 2010

Best answer: Those inflatable collars two lights above the sea mentioned are AWESOME. They really really work.

Another alternative is the Soft-E collar. These are much better for the dog, they don't jab or get caught on things, and from the dog's perspective they serve as a nice pillow.

Although if she is a determined licker, she may be able to defeat it. So I would probably recommend an inflatable collar for her situation.
posted by ErikaB at 9:24 AM on October 19, 2010

Seconding a larger cone, the work great and you can buy them at petsmart for cheap. They are a pain in the butt for everyone and the dog, but they will keep the wound from being opened back up. If the cone is too small the dog can break it, but not if its the right size and properly adjusted. bring the dog to the store is it can travel without any complications and try it on in the store. My lab had to use one for the better part of six months. It sucks, but its better then anything else. Be sure to check for soreness and red spots under the cone where it touches the neck and keep the dog dry. Good luck and hope she feels better.
posted by Felex at 9:52 AM on October 19, 2010

Best answer: ErikaB mentioned the one that I first thought of, but there is also the "Comfy Cone," that might be worth looking at.
posted by taz at 10:08 AM on October 19, 2010

Response by poster: thanks, folks, some good ideas here... I'm going to take a shot with the inflatable collar first, if that takes care of it, great...if not, on to the rest of the list! I'll let you all know what works.
posted by HuronBob at 10:17 AM on October 19, 2010

I used to have a blind dog and couldn't put him in anything resembling an e-cone because he didn't know where the edges were and he'd be unable to navigate. As a result, I had luck with wrapping a sweater or other bulky clothing item around his neck and taping it together. You have to play with it to get it just right, but as long as it keeps the dog from bending their neck enough to get to the wound--that's all you need. This might be helpful to you while you're waiting for an inflatable or soft e-cone to be shipped.

Poor, sad puppy. Good luck.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 11:07 AM on October 19, 2010

When my cat had a tumour removed in pretty much the same place as your dog's injury, I came up with this alternative to the cone. I know one of these travel pillows wouldn't fit round your dog, but the inflatable cone is pretty much the same concept.

Bailey much preferred the pillow to the cone of shame, it provided her with a pillow, and she didn't bump into things the way she did with the collar.
posted by essexjan at 11:20 AM on October 19, 2010

Best answer: Seconding the Comfy COne,a nd in addition we've used boxer shorts to keep our insistent northern breeds away from their wounds, putting the shorts on backwards with tails sticking out through the fly.

Perhaps the wound itches? A spritz of Bactine may quell that, too.
posted by bunji at 11:26 AM on October 19, 2010

The inflatable collar is great when it works, but if not, have you considered a muzzle? Anything is better than the Cone of Shame.
posted by walla at 12:06 PM on October 19, 2010

Sorry to hear about her troubles. Hope she gets better soon. I don't know what size e-collar you got, but the right one will definitely protect the wound from getting licked (I watched the video). We had to get one for Kaylee (our dog) to prevent licking -- the first attempt (from petsmart) did not work at all (it's edge was at the edge of her nose). We then got one from the vet cut to her size -- it extends a good 2-3 inches beyond the edge of her nose (this is important when you size the e-collar) even when the collar is at its farthest on her neck. Initially I thought this is too big for her... how will she eat etc, and of course she initially was not happy about the collar at all, but after a couple of days she totally got used to it. She's been eating, playing and doing everything else with the collar on for the past three weeks. We call it her halo ;)

One tip if you end up with a e-collar -- duck tape all around the outer perimeter of the cone. This will prevent the cone from shattering /cracking when it is bumped against doors etc. We lost one cone that way. Another tip -- watch out for ear infection because of more retained moisture.

P.S. Someone on one of our walks asked us why she was wearing the lamp shade. true story.
posted by thewildgreen at 3:38 PM on October 19, 2010

poor puppy! I hope she feels better soon. When my dog had surgery and was going after his stitches, we had a foul-tasting ointment that we got from the vet to put on it.

Also, nth-ing painkillers if she isn't on them already. And be really careful about infection, especially if she's already been licking/chewing at it -- we only got the foul-tasting ointment after it was too late, and our poor guy got an infected tunneling wound that looked exactly like a miniature purulent vagina. It was pretty dreadful.
posted by kataclysm at 8:40 AM on October 20, 2010

Response by poster: Folks, thanks for all the answers..

pup is now healed..

I didn't use the bitter apple, vet stated that it would sting and irritate the wound.. Neither the cone of shame nor the inflatable collar worked on her, she got right by them..

The final solution was just keeping an eye on her to prevent her from licking.. I was lucky in that she sleeps well at night....
posted by HuronBob at 2:44 PM on November 18, 2010

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